Comparing Roofing Materials: A Comprehensive Guide

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Roofing materials play a pivotal role in the longevity and performance of your roof. They determine not only the aesthetic appeal but also the durability and energy efficiency of your home. This article provides an in-depth comparison of six popular roofing materials: Shingles (Asphalt, Fiberglass, Composite), Metal Roofing, Wood Roofing, Clay Tiles, Slate Roofing, and Solar Shingles.

Shingles (Asphalt, Fiberglass, Composite):


Asphalt shingles were a prevalent choice among homeowners for many years due to their affordability and ease of installation. They were made of either organic paper fiber mat or fiberglass, saturated with asphalt to make it waterproof. Asphalt shingles generally lasted for about 20-30 years. However, they are not the most eco-friendly option and tend to have a lower lifespan compared to other materials and are no longer manufactured. If you still have asphalt shingles, you should be looking for options to replace them soon.


Fiberglass shingles are a type of asphalt shingles. They have a base layer of fiberglass mat, which makes them lighter and more fire-resistant than organic asphalt shingles. The lifespan is similar to asphalt, but fiberglass shingles often come with a better warranty.


Composite shingles are made from a blend of various materials such as fiberglass, recycled paper products, and asphalt. They are designed to mimic the appearance of wood or slate but are lighter and require less maintenance. The lifespan of composite shingles is around 30-50 years.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is known for its durability, longevity, and energy efficiency. Materials like aluminum, copper, zinc, and steel are used to manufacture metal roofs. They reflect sunlight, which reduces cooling costs in the summer. Metal roofing is lightweight, which reduces the load on the structure and can be installed over existing roofs. The expected lifespan is about 40-70 years. However, metal roofs can be noisy during rainstorms and are more expensive compared to asphalt shingles.

Wood Roofing

Wood shingles and shakes are made from cedar, redwood, or pine. They are popular for their natural look and ability to blend in with various architectural styles. Wood roofing is eco-friendly and provides good insulation. However, it requires regular maintenance to prevent mold, rot, and insects. The average lifespan of wood roofing is around 30 years, but with proper care, it can last up to 50 years.

Clay Tiles

Clay tiles are a classic roofing material, especially favored in Mediterranean-style homes. They are known for their longevity (up to 100 years), fire resistance, and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions. Clay tiles are heavy, requiring additional support structures. They are also one of the more expensive roofing options.

Slate Roofing

Slate is a natural stone that offers an incredibly durable and long-lasting roofing option. Its elegant appearance is highly valued for upscale homes. Slate is fire-resistant and requires very little maintenance. One of the major drawbacks of slate roofing is its weight and the high cost of both materials and installation. Slate roofs can last over 100 years.

Solar Shingles

Solar shingles are an innovative roofing material that doubles as a source of renewable energy. They integrate solar technology into the shingles, allowing them to function as both a roof and a solar panel. Solar shingles can offset electricity costs, and in some cases, homeowners can sell excess energy back to the grid. The average lifespan of solar shingles is around 25-30 years. Initial costs are high, but they can be offset by energy savings and potential tax credits.


Selecting the right roofing material for your home involves considering various factors such as cost, lifespan, maintenance, and aesthetic appeal. While asphalt and fiberglass shingles are affordable and easy to install, they don’t last as long as metal or slate roofing. Wood roofing offers a natural look but requires maintenance. Clay tiles and slate offer longevity but at a higher cost and weight. Solar shingles are an innovative solution for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint and save on energy costs. Carefully evaluate your specific needs, budget, and preferences before making a decision.

No matter what the season, the A&A Roofing & Exteriors team is here for you. Our team has experience working across all seasons in the Midwest climate and is able to get the job done at any time of the year.

Give A&A Roofing & Exteriors a call today at (402) 719-2380 or request a free estimate online for your roof repairs now.